Czech Republic: Final Test Before Ethanol Production Resumes Unipetrol Completes Repairs of Steam Cracker

Editor: Alexander Stark

Repair works on the steam cracker in Chempark Záluží, which has been out of the operation since last year’s fire, are completed, the company announced.

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The steam cracker has been out of service since a fire damaged it badly last year.
The steam cracker has been out of service since a fire damaged it badly last year.
(Source: Unipetrol)

Litvínov /Czech Republic — Finals tests before gradual start of production are currently under way. Standard production of the steam cracker is expected in late October. The steam cracker restoration lasted more than ten months and related costs amount to four billion Crowns (€ 1500,000 million.).

„We conducted a thorough analysis of the event, with the participation of representatives of colleagues from both Unipetrol and PKN ORLEN and external experts. Our primary task was to prepare the unit for a safe start, therefore, a number of measures, preventive maintenance activities and works, tests and training of the steam cracker staff were conducted,“ says Unipetrol Board member Martin Durčák.

The newly adopted technological measures apply for the system of safety valves in the propylene column where new valves were installed according to the best proven engineering practice. The system of safety valves in the ethylene column and in all technological facilities so that they always meet current needs according to the best available technical possibilities.

As a part of the measures the company also review current emergency procedures including the development of emergency plans relating to high risk cases. The company also prepared a project for emergency separation of flammable inventory. Several organizational measures were adopted to increase safety; these are aimed at improving communication among operators including more precise procedure for information transmission. In connection with a gradual start up of the steam cracker there will be a production combustion in the flare (flaring), which may be accompanied by sound and smoke effects.

Completion of repairs

The steam cracker is currently undergoing final tests before resuming the operation. These tests examine individual connections after the long turnaround. „The technological safety and its tightness is essential when resuming the operation, therefore the tests are repeated after adjustments so that we can be sure that everything is in order,” says Unipetrol Board member Martin Durčák.

A part of the ten-month steam cracker reconstruction was the construction of four new heaters, repair of damaged chimney, flue, pipe bridges, propylene column protection system, wiring, replacement of parts of measurement and control, isolation and local repair of damaged facilities.

  • More than one million hours has been worked in the steam cracker reconstruction (Unipetrol, Linde and Technip employees)
  • Approximately 900 to 1,000 employees of external companies participated daily in the reconstruction (roughly half of them were local companies)
  • The total costs for repairing the damaged facility amounted to CZK 4 billion (€ 150,000 million)
  • Reconstruction took more than 10 months

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